FSA (Fast Statistical Alignment) is a probabilistic multiple sequence alignment algorithm which uses a “distance-based” approach to aligning homologous protein, RNA or DNA sequences. Much as distance-based phylogenetic reconstruction methods like Neighbor-Joining build a phylogeny using only pairwise divergence estimates, FSA builds a multiple alignment using only pairwise estimations of homology. The program is based on pair hidden Markov models which approximate an insertion/deletion process on a tree and uses a sequence annealing algorithm to combine the posterior probabilities estimated from these models into a multiple alignment. FSA uses its explicit statistical model to produce multiple alignments which are accompanied by estimates of the alignment accuracy and uncertainty for every column and character of the alignment—previously available only with alignment programs which use computationally-expensive Markov Chain Monte Carlo approaches—yet can align thousands of long sequences.
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Bradley RK, Roberts A, Smoot M, Juvekar S, Do J, Dewey C, Holmes I, Pachter L (2009)
Fast Statistical Alignment.
PLoS Computational Biology. 5:e1000392.